cover of book
by Andrei Bely
translated by Christopher Colbath
introduction by Christopher Colbath
foreword by Vyacheslav Ivanov
Northwestern University Press, 2009
Cloth: 978-0-8101-2590-2
Library of Congress Classification PG3335.Z8B4513 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 891.733


When one great author engages another, as Andrei Bely so brilliantly does in Gogol’s Artistry, the result is inevitably a telling portrait of both writers. So it is in Gogol’s Artistry. Translated into English for the first time, this idiosyncratic, exhaustive critical study is as interesting for what it tells us about Bely’s thought and method as it is for its insights into the oeuvre of his literary predecessor. Bely’s argument in this book is that Gogol’s earlier writing should be given more consideration than most critics have granted. Employing what might be called a scientific perspective, Bely considers how often certain colors appear; he diagrams sentences and discusses Gogol’s prose in terms of mathematical equations. The result, as strange and engaging as Bely’s best fiction, is also an innovative, thorough, and remarkably revealing work of criticism.